The "72 hours timeframe for rape case filing" remark – the centrepiece of a nationwide furore centering the Raintree rape case verdict – is missing from the written full judgement pronounced on 11 November in a Dhaka court.
All the news media, citing the observation made verbally by Judge Mosammat Qumrunnaher while delivering the verdict in open court, reported that the police were ordered not to file a rape case after 72 hours of the sexual violence.
The observation stirred the social media, and met with a huge outcry and nationwide furore, leading to the suspension of the judge of Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal-7 from judicial duties.
On Monday, copies of the full verdict were sent to the chief justice and law ministry. The Business Standard managed to go through a copy of the 49-page full verdict.
TBS found the judgement still contains the medical report mentioning "previous experience of sexual intercourse" – a forensic part the high court ordered to drop in 2018 terming it disgracing to the victims.
The defence arguments in the case mostly referred to the medical report, leading to acquittal of all five accused in the end.
"This tribunal has seen a lot of rape case of adult victims who are already accustomed to sexual relation come up for trial where victims are medically examined many days after the alleged incident," the judge wrote in the verdict.
"When the case is filed long after the incident, no clues could be found to prove the sexual violence on the victim. If the matter is taken care of at the time of filling the case and if that victim medically examined within 72 hours (as the opinion of medical officer's of many cases) any signs of rape are found properly and if it is proved through forensic test, it becomes an important document in a rape case," as said in the verdict.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court took all case evidence from the lower court for scrutiny.
Journalists who were present at the courtroom during the verdict on 11 November claimed the judge made the observation verbally.
In many sensational verdicts earlier, the judges provided the lawyers and journalists with the written observation. But in this case, there was no written observation.
In May 2017, a university student filed a rape case with Dhaka's Banani police station against five individuals including Safat Ahmed, son of Apan Jewellers owner Dildar Ahmed.
According to the case, the accused detained the plaintiff and her friend in Dhaka's upscale Raintree Hotel and raped and assaulted the duo. The case stirred the social media adding voice to an anti-rape chorus across the county.
A medical board on 3 June 2017 submitted the forensic report of the rape victims to police.